American Animals is the unbelievable but entirely true story of four young men who attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. The film centers around two friends from the middle-class suburbs of Lexington, Kentucky. Spencer (Barry Keoghan), is determined to become an artist but feels he lacks the essential ingredient that unites all great artists – suffering. His closest friend, Warren (Evan Peters), has also been raised to believe that his life will be special, and that he will be unique in some way. But as they leave the suburbs for universities in the same town, the realities of adult life begin to dawn on them and with that, the realization that their lives may in fact never be important or special in any way. Determined to live lives that are out of the ordinary, they plan the brazen theft of some of the world’s most valuable books from the special collections room of Spencer’s college Library. Enlisting two more friends, accounting major Eric (Jared Abrahamson) and fitness fanatic Chas (Blake Jenner), and taking their cues from heist movies, the gang meticulously plots the theft and subsequent fence of the stolen artworks. Although some of the group begin to have second thoughts, they discover that the plan has seemingly taken on a life of its own. Unfolding from multiple perspectives, and innovatively incorporating the real-life figures at the heart of the story, writer-director Bart Layton (The Imposter) takes the heist movie into bold new territory.
UK | USA, 2018, 116 minutes, Rated R, Directed by Bart Layton
“A crackerjack real-life heist thriller.”– Todd McCarthy, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“A supremely-crafted doc/fiction hybrid which is genuinely innovative, pleasingly entertaining and deliciously more than the sum of its parts.”– Fionnuala Halligan, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
“It's a wild ride that shakes up a common narrative by way of a refreshingly multifaceted approach. It's about time someone made a heist film like this.”– Matt Hoffman, FILM SCHOOL REJECTS
“American Animals feels like a new kind of true-crime thriller: one that shamelessly rewrites its truths in real time as it goes.”– Leah Greenblatt, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“Sensational and riveting. A wildly entertaining true-crime thriller.”– Guy Lodge, VARIETY
“Director Bart Layton's heist yarn is an exhilarating exercise in art imitating life (that was imitating art).”– J.R. Kinnard, SEATTLE TIMES